06/23/04 — New hearing set for revised base zone

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New hearing set for revised base zone

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on June 23, 2004 1:59 PM

Wayne County is ready to unveil revised rules to limit development in high-noise areas around Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

The county commissioners decided Tuesday to call a public hearing for July 27. The board anticipates voting at its Aug. 3 meeting.

The package of zoning and land-use rules has been tweaked and rewritten since the county's first hearing in May. Most changes are responses to complaints voiced then.

The county still proposes to zone thousands of acres for the first time, plus tighten zoning for even more land. The total area affected would be more than 20 square miles around the base and its flight lines.

On Tuesday the commissioners hashed out a new draft of the rules. Changes since the earlier hearing include the following:

*Mobile homes could be replaced in parks or on private lots without restriction.

*Churches would be allow to expand or build without having to use noise-reduction materials. They still would not be allowed in areas with noise levels typically over 75 decibels.

*Any existing home or business would be allowed to remain, expand or rebuild without having to use sound-reduction materials.

*In areas with average noise levels above 65 decibels, new homes will need to be designed to reduce outside noise by 25 to 35 decibels, depending on location. The Planning Department will prepare materials to help developers meet that goal.

*Single-family homes would be allowed as a special-use on land zoned by the county for "light industry." That will give county boards the chance to allow families to split lots off for relatives to build but will not permit subdivisions.

*A noise disclosure statement will be required on many land documents, but it no longer will say that high noise levels are potentially harmful.

The county plans to mail notices out to 2,900 affected property owners. More information will be published in the News-Argus in the coming weeks.

The public hearing is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 27, in the historic Courtroom 1, Wayne County Courthouse.